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Best Piña Colada Recipes

Best Piña Colada Recipes

Piña Colada Shopping Tips

Buy your booze in bulk – transfer what you need into smaller bottles to stock your bar – you’ll save money and have enough leftover for your next party.

Piña Colada Cooking Tips

Add another layer of flavor to your cocktails by making your own simple syrup – combine equal parts sugar and water with whatever aromatics you like – fresh herbs, whole spices, citrus, or chile peppers – heat to dissolve sugar and strain before using.

Piña Colada

This seriously delicious pina colada is a sweet cocktail made with Bacardi rum, sweetened condensed coconut milk, a touch of nutmeg to kick it up a notch, and pineapple juice blended with crushed ice.

Garnish with pineapple wedges, maraschino cherries, and cute little drink umbrellas if desired.

Best Ever Pina Coladas for Two

Are you ready to be transported to paradise with images of sitting on a tropical beach, toes in the warm sand and this drink in your hand as the sun creates magical colors and slowly sinks into the sea?

Whip up this easy small batch recipe which serves 2 and is perfect for romantic date night drinks.

Easy Pina Colada

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3-Ingredient Piña Coladas

Great piña coladas at home don’t actually require a laundry list of ingredients like you might think. Grab a bag of frozen pineapple chunks, a can of full-fat coconut milk, and some white rum let your blender do all the work and in seconds you’ll have the frosty tropical cocktail of your dreams.

Unlike some piña coladas you’ll find at beach bars and restaurants, this version is not too sweet since the only sugar added is from the pineapple itself. If you prefer a sweeter drink, add a little simple syrup before blending. Opting for full-fat coconut milk makes these piña coladas extra creamy, but if you would rather them be a bit lighter and icier, you can use light coconut milk.

The Spruce / Mateja Kobescak

Add all of the ingredients to a blender, including 1 1/2 cups of ice. Blend until smooth.

The Spruce / Mateja Kobescak

The Spruce / Mateja Kobescak

Garnish with a maraschino cherry and pineapple wedge, or pin the cherry to the pineapple with a cocktail skewer to create a "flag" garnish. Serve and enjoy.

The Spruce / Mateja Kobescak

Who Created the Piña Colada?

The Piña Colada's origin is one of the few cocktail histories that is well documented. The cocktail was created in 1954 by Ramón "Monchito" Marrero, bartender at the Beachcomber Bar in the Caribe Hilton of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The original recipe was nonalcoholic and shaken. His intent was to welcome guests with a taste of the tropics captured in a glass. Monchito added a local rum a number of years later, and the drink found a second home in the blender. In 1978, the Piña Colada became Puerto Rico's official drink.

Over the following decades, the cocktail was enjoyed by Caribbean travelers who brought tales of it home. It was not until the release of Rupert Holmes' 1979 hit song "Escape" that the drink skyrocketed in popularity. Don't recognize the title? It is also called—quite appropriately—"The Piña Colada Song." If you need a reminder of it, just stop by someplace hosting a karaoke night, and you're almost sure to hear it.

Flavorful Additions and Substitutions

  • The Caribe Hilton's original Piña colada recipe is heavy on the pineapple and uses Bacardi rum and Coco Lopez: Mix 2 ounces of light rum, 1 ounce each of coconut cream and heavy cream, and 6 ounces of pineapple juice in a blender. Add 1/2 cup crushed ice and mix for 15 seconds, then pour into a 12-ounce glass and garnish with a pineapple and cherry.
  • Use 5-6 ripe pineapple chunks instead of juice, cut them about 1 inch x 1 inch. It'll make for a fresher, brighter cocktail.
  • Add ¼-½ ounces of overproof Jamaican rum, such as Smith and Cross, to add an extra kick and an a layer of complexity.
  • Add a hint of background flavor with a flavored rum. Apricot, banana, grapefruit, kiwi, kumquat, orange, passion fruit, and vanilla pair great with both coconut and pineapple. If you can't find a particular rum flavor at the store, make your own rum infusions.
  • Switch the rum out for brandy and enjoy a kappa colada.
  • Make a mocktail with the coco colada or a big-batch virgin piña colada recipe.
  • Add more ice for a thicker drink, or more pineapple juice (or less ice) for a thinner version.
  • Replace the cream of coconut with full-fat or low-fat coconut milk for a lighter version.

How Strong Is a Frozen Piña Colada?

Not only is the piña colada refreshing, but it's also low-proof. All that ice adds volume and brings the alcohol content down significantly, so this recipe averages out at just 8 percent ABV (16 proof). That's right between beer and wine, only this drink is far more delicious.

The Original Piña Colada from Puerto Rico

Just a short two-hour flight from the states, Puerto Rico is the perfect island escape. The Caribe Hilton offers quaint international charm with the comforts of home and it was where the Piña Colada recipe was created.

At a time when tourism was just getting started in Puerto Rico, large and sometimes over-the-top resorts were built by the airlines and major hoteliers of the day. Think marble and chandeliers in the grand lobby opening out to a sandy beach. French chefs were imported and cuisine was incredible although with European flair. But visitors wanted exotic island flavors and a tropical feeling for their island vacation.

Summer Wine Pairings You Absolutely Need to Try

Enter bartender Ramón “Monchito” Marrero in 1954, who worked at Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico. Experimenting for three months and benefiting from the availability of local rum distilleries, he invented the Piña Colada. it was an instant success. He personally continued to serve them at the hotel for another 35 years. In 1978, the cocktail was named Puerto Rico’s official national drink.

I don’t know about you but when it starts raining here in the Pacific Northwest I start making airline reservations. Puerto Rico and a Piña Colada sounds really good right now.

14 Piña Colada-Inspired Recipes That Taste Like a Vacation in a Bite

Piña coladas, which are made with pineapple juice, coconut cream, and rum, just scream "summertime." Add an umbrella and a cherry on top, and you're practically at the beach before you have even one sip. But even if you can't get to an island or the shore, you can transfer those same flavors from your favorite cocktail into a whole host of delicious treats. Start the day with piña colada French toast, enjoy piña colada fruit salad as a snack, or end the day on a sweet note by whipping up piña colada cake. We gathered our best piña colada-inspired recipes so you can have a taste of vacation even if you're a thousand miles away from a sandy beach.

Share All sharing options for: Recipe: The Best Damn Piña Colada Ever

I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but my go-to dive bar drink used to be a mixture of Malibu coconut rum and pineapple juice — a sort of cheat piña colada. Those sweet, tropical flavors got me through some awful karaoke nights and terrible first dates.

So I was delighted to find a recipe for a real deal piña colada in pastry chef and food writer Ben Mims’ newest book, Coconut, out now from Short Stack Editions. Mims, an alum of Food & Wine, Saveur, and Lucky Peach, knows how to rework a classic. His first book, Sweet & Southern: Classic Desserts With a Twist, elevated iconic American desserts like hummingbird cake, cornbread pudding, and snickerdoodles with simple tricks and novel techniques. He’s applied that same formula in Coconuts, where a recipe for a classic frozen and blended piña colada is balanced and brightened by a hit of lime juice. Homemade coconut cream gives the drink its rich texture without the corn syrup-y taste of the canned stuff.

The Best Damn Piña Colada Ever

It’s unfortunate that piña coladas have such a bad rap. Admittedly, they’re usually made with too-sweet canned coconut cream and cheap rum, but the basic idea is a good one: a frothy, creamy coconut cocktail that transports you to the beach. I decided to make a fresh coconut cocktail that’s still frothy and tropical but balanced in flavor. The fresh water in a coconut, the pureed meat and homemade coconut cream boost the coconut flavor, while fresh pineapple and lime juice balance out its rich, sweet taste.

1 cup fresh coconut water
1 cup coconut rum, preferably homemade (see below), chilled in the freezer
1 cup cubed pineapple (8 ounces), frozen
1 cup pureed coconut (see Note), chilled
1 cup homemade cream of coconut (recipe follows), chilled
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Pineapple slices, lime wheels and freshly grated coconut, for garnish

Pour the coconut water into an ice cube tray and place in the freezer. Put the rum and pineapple chunks in the freezer as well and freeze the ingredients until they’re solid, about 4 hours.

In a blender, combine the coconut water, ice cubes, the rum and pineapple, the pureed coconut, cream of coconut and lime juice and blend until smooth and frothy. Immediately pour into chilled cocktail glasses and garnish with a slice of pineapple, a lime wheel and freshly grated coconut sprinkled on top.

Homemade coconut rum: Pour one 750-milliliter bottle of golden rum into a large bowl, and set the bottle aside. Stir 2 cups of shaved or grated fresh coconut into the rum, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the rum sit at room temperature for at least 1 week, or up to 1 month. Line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth, hold the sieve over a funnel running into the reserved rum bottle and pour the rum back into the bottle. Discard the coconut solids in the sieve. Refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.

Note: Purred coconut is a boxed product found in grocery stores or online. I prefer the brand Let’s Do. Organic.

Cream of Coconut

1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
One 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1 ⁄4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

In a small saucepan, whisk the sugar and cornstarch to combine, then stir in the coconut milk. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once the mixture begins boiling, continue cooking, stirring constantly, until thickened and reduced slightly, about 3 minutes.

Scrape the mixture into a bowl and stir in the lemon juice. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the mixture and refrigerate until chilled and thickened, at least 4 hours. The cream of coconut will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

Preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced (200°C conventional). Grease a 2L baking dish. Put butter, zest, sugar, essence, yolks and coconut cream in a food processor. Puree until smooth. Add coconut and flour and puree again. Add pineapple and pulse to combine.

Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar into soft peaks in a bowl, then fold in pineapple mixture a bit at a time. Spoon into prepared dish and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden and firm on top. Dust with icing sugar. Serve with coconut, fruit salad and ice-cream.


Pineapple is non-negotiable (unless you’re a maverick, like Conigliaro, but as we’ve established, he’s already been disqualified anyway). Moore reckons “it’s not essential to use fresh fruit to make a decent piña colada, though it certainly adds to the drama if you do” so I try her recipe with tinned pineapple rings, and save the fresh stuff for Wilson’s recipe. The others all use pineapple juice instead, which, to my surprise, I prefer. I find the tinned pineapple rings too sweet and the fresh fruit distractingly acidic … and both rather fibrous. (Wilson says that, despite the name, which means “strained pineapple”, it’s easier to keep the drink from separating if you don’t bother, but his would be better served with a spoon than a straw.) Fresh pineapple juice neatly avoids this problem, and seems to hit the spot flavour-wise, too. Food52 adds a spritz of lime juice and DeGroff adds Angostura bitters, which makes their piña coladas particularly refreshing, though you may not need either depending on the pineapple juice you use.

Victoria Moore’s piña colada.

In Search of the Ultimate Piña Colada

The Piña Colada is a situational cocktail. When you picture yourself ordering one, you probably envision doing so at a warm-weather resort, at the beach or beside the pool.

The Top Three

Fanny Chu's Piña Colada

Erick Castro's Piña Colada

Will Pasternak's Piña Colada

“It’s an outdoor drink,” said bartender Joaquín Simó. “You’re using it basically like air conditioning. Having it indoors doesn’t feel quite right.” Fellow bartender Jelani Johnson agreed. “It’s air conditioning in a glass,” he said.

That truth notwithstanding, the PUNCH staff, in order to find the best rendition of the Piña Colada, recently gathered far from any waterfront, in a darkened, second-floor space in the East Village—better known during operating hours as Pouring Ribbons. Joining me on the judging panel were Simó, the owner of Pouring Ribbons tiki master Johnson, of Clover Club in Brooklyn and Ivy Mix, an owner of Leyenda, a Brooklyn bar known for its creative use of Caribbean, Central American and South American spirits. Pouring Ribbons bartender Devin Kennedy prepared the drinks.

All these bartenders have served their share of Piña Coladas over the years. “The No. 1 off-menu drinks at Leyenda are the Margarita, Daiquiri and Piña Colada,” said Mix.

Despite belonging to a different category of cocktail, the Piña Colada has enjoyed the same robust name recognition as the Margarita and the Daiquiri, among other top-tier classics, since its advent in 1954. It was then that a bartender at the Caribe Hilton hotel in San Juan first hatched the idea to add the newly created Puerto Rican product Coco Lopez, a sweetened “cream of coconut,” to the traditional tropical mixture of pineapple juice, rum and sugar. There’s been no stopping the dessert-like drink since (and the deathless 1979 Rupert Holmes anthem “Escape (the Piña Colada Song)” certainly didn’t hit the brakes).

Because of the cocktail’s easygoing, live-and-let-live reputation, the judges seemed to hold the Piña Colada to a less exacting standard than they might have for other cocktails with as famous a rep. “It’s the corner slice of cocktails,” argued Simó. “Everyone has had it. You’ve had very crappy versions and very elevated versions. But how much better is that elevated version?”

“Some of the best ones are at the shittiest places,” added Johnson. (Johnson, playing the provocateur, went so far as to half-seriously suggest that the best recipe for a Piña Colada was the coconut-heavy version on the back of the Coco Lopez can.)

Still, as always, the PUNCH judges revealed certain make-or-break measures of acceptability. The use of fresh pineapple juice seemed very little to ask of the competitors. (However, the panel didn’t rule out the idea that a good drink could be made from canned juice.) And fine-straining that juice was considered a mistake. “Why would you strain out all that flavor?” asked Simó. Judges were not opposed to the addition of a little lime juice, a common trick used to bump up the acidity of a drink that desperately needs it.

Coco Lopez was an expected, and historically accurate, choice for the coconut element. (It was used in nine of the 10 recipes tested.) Regarding rum, the judges were liberal minded. They liked the idea of layering multiple rums, but weren’t against using only a single brand, either. Breaking out high-end rums for the drink seemed pointless, but neither was the group opposed to the idea. The only rum sin punishable by expulsion was when the spirit in question couldn’t be detected in the mix at all.

Texture was as important, if not more, to the panel. The first two drinks in the competition were served on cobbled ice. These were judged with an even hand. But when the third contender arrived in blended form, the truth came out.

“It’s a blended drink,” the judges declared, almost simultaneously. Simó, for his part, understood why a bar might opt to not keep a blender on hand—they make too much noise, they take up too much room, etc. Still, the panel expected a silky uniformity of mouthfeel that one can only get from ice that’s been through a blender.

“There’s something about cobbled drinks,” complained Mix. “I don’t want to slurp.” PUNCH senior editor Chloe Frechette further pointed out that a cobbled drink will tend to disappear after a few sips. Blending, meanwhile, transforms a Piña Colada into a lengthy drinking experience. And, said Johnson, that’s what you’re after, since “you aren’t going to want a second one.”

Drinks that hit the right balance between rum, pineapple and coconut proved elusive. Frequently, one flavor dominated. Most often, evidence of the rum was scant. (Later, when the recipes for the cocktails were revealed, a confounding stinginess in rum measurements was discovered nearly across the board.) Textures, too, varied wildly among the blended versions. There were drinks that were thin and watery, and drinks so thick you could barely coax them through a straw.

The winning drink came from Fanny Chu, of Brooklyn’s tropical-minded cocktail bar, Donna. The recipe called for 1 ounce El Dorado 5 Year rum, 1 ounce Pedro Mandinga Panama silver rum (unable to secure a bottle prior to the tasting, PUNCH used Plantation 3 Stars), 1 ½ ounces pineapple juice, 1 ounce “Coco mix” (a blend of three parts Coco Lopez and one part coconut milk), ½ ounce lime juice, and ½ ounce demerara syrup. The judges found the balance of flavors to be nearly perfect. Their only quibble was that the drink was served on cobbled ice. (The judges enjoyed the recipe so much, after the competition was over, they ordered a blended version. It was good, too.)

Second place went to Erick Castro, of Polite Provisions in San Diego. Unlike many other contestants, Castro did not skimp on the rum flavor. The recipe called for a half ounce each of Plantation 3 Stars, Smith & Cross Jamaican rum, Plantation Original Dark and Clément Première Canne Rhum Agricole. To this was added 1 ½ ounces pineapple juice, 1 ½ ounces Coco Lopez and ½ ounce of lime juice. Again, it was served on cobbled ice, which irked the testers. But the formula was the most rum-forward of the drinks, and that strength of flavor went a long way with the panel.

Third place went to Will Pasternak from the Cuba-themed bar BlackTail in New York. There, the drink is served directly from a slushy machine, but his scaled-down rendition consists of 1 ¼ ounces Bacardi Havana Club Añejo Blanco, 1 ½ ounces Coco Lopez, 1 ¾ ounces pineapple juice and ¼ ounce lime juice, blended. Aside from wishing the rum quotient had been increased a bit, the judges felt the drink correctly answered the questionnaire all Piña Coladas must complete.

“Is this cold?” said Johnson. “Is this refreshing? Is this decadent?” And, it might be added, are you outdoors?

This smoothie-like strawberry banana pina colada is easy and delectable! It's the perfect drink for a brunch or ladies' night cocktail!

Each of the recipes above has the step-by-step on how to make a pina colada at home. They are all easy to follow and well-laid out.

Still, you need a few kitchen tools to prepare any of these best pina colada recipes.

    &ndash We use and are absolutely in love with our KitchenAid blender! It is a powerhouse and makes the smoothest cocktails (and soups) ever! &ndash Using a hurricane glass for tropical drinks, such as pina colada, is a no-brainer. It adds the summer feeling to the experience! This is the glass we used in all of these cocktails! &ndash Having a jigger saves us so much time when preparing cocktails. It comes in the exact measure as 90% of alcohol usage in pina colada recipes, let alone other cocktails. Besides, this jigger has marks on the inside for additional quantities. &ndash Some of the best kitchen tools we ever bought were reusable straws! It&rsquos a one-time purchase, saves us money, and helps the environment. These stainless steel straws come in a set of 6 and have two flexible wire brushes.

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